Quarterback Robert Griffin III on Wednesday practiced full speed against the Washington Redskins’ first-string defense for the first time since he injured his right knee on Jan. 6 in a playoff loss to Seattle.
“I’m getting the team reps, and that’s what I wanted,” Griffin said. “That’s what the team needs me to be out there doing, and we feel good.”
Griffin participated in some drills against the first team, as the Redskins began a short week of preparation for Saturday afternoon’s home preseason game against Buffalo. Last week, he practiced against the scout team defense. Prior to that, he was limited to 7-on-7 drills and individual agility drills on a side field.
Griffin’s determination to start the Redskins’ regular season opener on Sept. 9 was rewarded during Monday’s positive meeting with his surgeon, Dr. James Andrews. Andrews observed Griffin throwing and working out, then performed field tests on his ACL and lateral collateral ligaments.
“He put his hands on me…and said it looks good,” Griffin said.
Griffin wants to make the decision to clear him for game action an easy one. That involves consistently throwing with sound lower-body mechanics. Coaches are focusing on his leg drive and weight transfer, especially because his plant leg was the one operated on.
“We see progress,” coach Mike Shanahan said. “One of the reasons we didn’t throw him right in the fire is because we didn’t think he was ready right away. He was in pretty good shape. I like where he’s at right now, and the key is not to have a setback.”
Quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur last week said: “I think I noticed it a little bit early just when he first started back. I think just talking to other guys that have had that—Rex [Grossman] had an ACL, and he said it does take a while, especially when it’s on your back leg, to come back to full strength. I think now I don’t notice it.”
Griffin sensed a difference in his lower half before and after he first injured his knee against Baltimore last December.
“I can feel a difference now having a healthy knee now,” Griffin said. “You watch all that film throughout the season, you watch it at the end of the season. You watch every game again, just to go over—not necessarily looking at you, but looking at your reads and things like that—and I’ve done that. I feel like I’m miles ahead when it comes to just playing football now than I was then, and then when it comes to just being healthy and planting off the back foot, I feel good there, too.”
With less than three weeks until the opener, Shanahan remains optimistic.
“If he can keep on progressing like has been,” he said, “he’ll be ready for Monday night.”